My LibriVox recordings & my reading journal (solo Litblog).

The Strain. My journal notes. Post 1

book cover for The Strain


From the prologue, there is a feeling of foreboding that has nothing to with Nazi’s and world war 2 that is the background of the prologue’s setting.
The Jusef Sardu of the title, sounds like a grisly story to tell the children. Watch out, or Jusef Sardu will get you. Or be good, or Jusef Sardu, will get you. A boogey-man.
Except, this boogey-man may be real (from the book characters perspective that is), and although Abraham Sertraklin’s grandmother tells the legend as a “Once upon a time…”, it’s clear she knows this fairy tale is not something to be dismissed. It appears that the beginning’s of the legend is backed up by a diary written by Jusef, perhaps that is why the tale is credible in the grandmother’s eyes. The aftermath, well, that could be put down to hearsay, but when an entire community is stricken with many deaths, flights of fancy are sometimes a given. Except, in this case Abraham’s grandmother lost two sisters to this legend, and heard the calling from the pick-pick-pick of the Sardu pied-piper.

It was they (the gypsies) who warned us, ‘Eat and grow strong—or else Sardu will get you.’ Why it is important, Abraham. Ess gezunterhait! Eat and be strong. Scrape that bowl now. Or else—he will come.” She had come back from those few moments of darkness, of remembering. Her eyes came back to their lively selves. “Sardu will come. Pick-pick-pick.”

And then a decade passes, a new horror overshadows the Sertaklin family.

He ran hard from the Nazis, hearing a pick-pick-pick all the time at his back.
And evil followed closely behind


N323RG Cockpit Voice Recorder

Excerpts, NTSB transcription, Flight 753, Berlin (TXL) to New York (JFK), 9/24/10

It begins with the landing of Flight 753, and then the sudden silence of every soul within.


JFK International Control Tower

Well, the plane landed, but almost immediately goes dark. Not a light or a voice comes from 753.
The air traffic controller in charge of Regis flight 753, Jimmy Mendes aka Jimmy the Bishop, is informed of this.

Jimmy the Bishop clutched his belly, wishing he could reach inside and somehow massage the sickness roiling at its pit.

He doesn’t know why, but he’s afraid.
I get why he could be afraid, a job as an air traffic controller is one of the most stressful careers out there, one person responsible for guiding hundreds of people back to the ground without crashing into something else. For a plane to make it safely to the runway and then proceed to “taxi” to the designated gate, only to suddenly halt on the taxiway without an alert of some kind, must be unnerving and worrying.
Now, you’ve got a silent and unmoving plane sitting on a taxiway that other planes are also designated to land on.
It’s time to juggles numbers, from the careful orchestration of planes circling the airport, to a reroute around the occupied landing strip and then sort out which plane can land where, and on top of all that, figure out why 753 is dark.

Terminal 3 Tarmac

Lorenza Ruiz, being just a mere baggage handler out on the tarmac, is ordered to take a look-see at the now silent and dark flight 753. She feels uneasy, and who could blame her? What she eventually sees, she reports immediately back to the control tower. But what she sees, and feels, will remain with her, making her feel spooked by the entire event.

JFK International Control Tower

Back in the tower, everyone is trying to figure out the why’s, how’s & wherefore’s.

“Jimmy the Bishop saw that they had entered the “stupid questions” phase of the investigation.”
– Jimmy Mendes, air traffic controller at JFK

Taxiway Foxtrot

More ponderings about Boeing 777-200LR, nothing really original discussed between the various characters. Just the usual suspicions, bombs, terrorists, etc…

There were five of them, each one introducing himself in turn, but Captain Navarro didn’t waste any effort trying to remember names. He had come to the plane with fire engines and foaming equipment; they came with laptops and mobile handhelds.

Other than that, more questions are raised. About the passengers, the window blinds all being drawn, about the lack of any communication of any kind from the passengers. Not even so much as a text or tweet.

Dark Harbor, Virginia

Eldritch Palmer was not at the end. He was in his seventy-sixth year, and he had no intention of giving up on anything. Nothing at all.

A man with great wealth, frail and using everything at his disposal to make sure he stays alive. At any cost.
I guess you can’t take it with you, no matter how wealthy or how greedy. I’ll take a guess that Mr. Palmer, however, is the kind to be determined enough to try to cheat death, and I have a sneaky suspicion that his money is behind the silent plane sitting, waiting.

Taxiway Foxtrot

Back to the plane, to the deafening silence of the passengers and the crew.

Captain Navarro wondered for a moment if anyone was actually still on board. Hadn’t there been a Twilight Zone where a plane landed empty?</em

Hmm, I can see why Navarro would think like that.
Many people are circling the plane, in the same manner in which planes circle the sky above the airport. Waiting.

The exit door over the wing. The one Captain Navarro hadn’t been able to budge.
It was open now.

Here’s where the real trouble begins.

JFK International Control Tower

Back to Jimmy the Bishop, and someone notices the now open exit door.

He set the field glasses back on the ledge and backed away. For some reason, his mind was telling him that this would be a good time to run.

Maybe it’s the fight or flight reaction. Except it seems to be yelling at Jimmy. I wonder why no-one else in the control tower has had the same reaction? Or can it be that some of those people are just deaf to the in-built survival instincts that human beings possess?

Taxiway Foxtrot

This chapter is just getting things rolling to the natural conclusions, readying the story for the opening and investigating the aircraft.
Not really much to comment about.


Author: raven

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